One of the things Robia Rashid wanted for the second season of “Atypical” was “a little more involvement from the autism community.” The veteran writer and producer created this Netflix series about Sam Gardner (Keir Gilchrist), a teenager on the spectrum who decides he’s ready for a little more independence. Watch our exclusive video interview with Rashid above.
Going into the second season, which premiered on the streaming service last September, Rashid hired David Finch, “a consultant who’s on the spectrum” and also serves as a writer. “He reads all our scripts, watches all our cuts, and comes to set here and there” to provide his input.
The show “also hired a lot more autistic actors to play both roles of people with autism, but also neurotypical roles,” Rashid says. “That was something that we were really excited about on both fronts. Sam’s peer group is obviously an example of that, but there are also … characters who were neurotypical in the show who are actually” portrayed by actors “on the spectrum.”
Rashid’s ambitions of inclusivity weren’t simply limited to bringing in more people with autism. “One of my goals, partly as a human but also as a woman of color, is to showcase some diversity within our groups,” she explains. “Autism affects people of all races and genders and colors, and so that was an important thing to us, really showing a diverse group on the spectrum.”
Rashid previously worked as a writer and producer on shows including “How I Met Your Mother” and “The Goldbergs” before creating “Atypical.” The series, which costars Jennifer Jason Leigh and Michael Rapaport as Sam’s parents, was renewed for a third season.
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